Stone Ground Chutney (The Mortar and Pestle)

It is not about going back to stone-age. It is about the physics and chemistry of food.

The recently invented electrical gadgets that we use in our kitchens may have made our lives and our cooking much easier but somewhere it has robbed many flavours from our food. 

My humble Mortar and Pestle. It does not require electricity. Needs just a pair of hands. 

It is housed in my backyard and it actually belonged to my mother. I had spent quite a sum to get it transported from Hyderabad, the place I was born in and grew up, to Bangalore, where I live right now.  

The granite stone has smoothed and rounded itself over years of use.  I still remember when, as a little girl, I used to help my mother grind stuff in it. Now my daughters do it with me. Not always though. It is a fun task to do together. They do grumble to help but are finally always satisfied with the end result of the task. The chutneys have a super texture and a super, super taste. Nowhere close in taste to the ones ground in the electric mixer/grinder.     

The ingredients for the chutney.                                                                                      

First the coconut pieces are crushed a little with the heavy stone pestle in a pounding action and then taken out… 

and ground.

Then the remaining ingredients are added and ground together into a fine paste with sprinklings of water..                                                                       

using the left hand to rotate the stone pestle in an anti-clockwise motion and the right hand fingers to push the ingredients in the gap in between the two stones to press and crush it into a paste.

It takes a little practice to coordinate the motions of the two hands.    

The chutney which took about 15 minutes to grind. 

The chutney after it was diluted with a little water and seasoned.                  

 Was a good early morning exercise and felt even more good after digging into it with a piece of Ragi-Whole Wheat dosa.                                                                                                                   



6 Comments Add yours

  1. The information about the mortar pestle is really wonderful. These helpful tools go all the way back to ancient times and were used for a large variety of uses.

  2. Gita Mani says:

    Lovely post. That chutney looks delicious. My mom had a similar one made of dark granite. I remember her teaching me to grind dosa batter with it. Memories 🙂

  3. Thanks Gita! Hope your mom still has the mortar and pestle. I`ve come across many big mortars dumped on the foot-paths of Bangalore. Sad.

    1. Gita Mani says:

      That is sad! My mom no longer has them but I’m willing to bet she left them in good hands. I’ll have to ask her. They had gotten really smooth after all those years of use!

      1. An old man but extremely fit for his age, goes past my house maybe once in 2-3 months shouting “ammikalla”. He roughens up grinding stones using a hammer and chisel. Very deft. Could be a dying skill.

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